Veterans Day 2016: What You Need to Know

Veterans Day is celebrated annually on November 11 to honor all those who have served in the Armes Forces. CNN notes that this year marks the first Veterans Day to take place after the historic ban on women participating in ground combat was lifted. Here are 10 facts that you should know about this federal holiday and the veterans who live among us:
  1. It became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938 and on that same year on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and stated, “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”
  2. This holiday also marks the anniversary of the end of World War I.
  3. The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
  4. There are 18.8 million veterans living in the United States as of 2015, according to the Census Bureau. Of these, 1.6 million veterans are women.
  5. A large proportion of the veteran population, 9.3 million, are aged 65 and older while 1.6 million are younger than 35.
  6. The American labor force has 7.2 million veterans ages 18 to 65. Of these, 6.8 million are employed. Male and female veterans’ annual median incomes are both higher than their non-veteran counterparts.
  7. Despite veterans having an annual holiday celebrating their heroism, troubling stories have emerged in recent years that paint a grim picture for many veterans in America. In 2013, CNN reported that on average more than 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
  8. Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This holiday celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives and those who perished while in service.
  9. While the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day in calendars and advertisements, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, states that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling, “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”
  10. The celebration’s main purpose is to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

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